Ever wonder how TV shows are born? Well, when a Mommy TV show and a Daddy TV show love each other very much, they start to kiss and rub their bodies together, and then they…
Wait, scratch that. Wrong explanation.
The truth is, all year long, broadcast and cable networks hear pitches from writers and producers, which they then commission into actual scripts. Every winter and spring, they order some of these scripts to "pilot," which means the show is cast and a "pilot" episode is shot.
This does not mean that the show is necessarily ever going to make it on air. Pilots are ordered precisely so the networks can decide whether they want to invest in them. From the pilot, they can see how the show looks, whether or not it "works," and whether casting changes are necessary. Case in point, last year Fox passed on Ron Moore’s sci fi drama Virtuality which included a gay couple.
Many more pilots are shot than ever become TV series — though the number of pilots ordered has fallen considerably in recent years as the networks try to save money.
Still, pilots are how networks pick their future schedules. Wondering what pilots are being put together right now that might be of interest to gay viewers next fall and winter? Here are a few that sound intriguing:
Perfect Couples (NBC): Needless to say, the success of Modern Family is having a big impact on next year’s shows. One
obvious rip-off similarly-themed series is this pilot recently ordered by NBC about three couples each with a “different definition” of perfection. No word on whether any of the couples are same-sex ones, but given the networks lack of GLBT diversity, PC represents the perfect opportunity to fix that. .
It Takes of Village (ABC): Another Modern Family
rip-off homage, this half-hour show tells the story of two exes jointly raising a 15-year-old. The original pilot had the male parent being gay and living with his male partner, but changes have been made to the script and we haven’t been able to confirm if the show still has gay content.
Anita Bryant TV Movie Project (HBO): It’s not a pilot or a TV series, but Sex and the City’s Darren Starr is seeking to direct a TV movie adaptation of the life of Anita Bryant, the former beauty queen and pop singer who led a notorious anti-gay political campaign in the 1970s.
Untitled I’m With the Band Project (HBO): (500) Day of Summer’s Zooey Deschanel has signed for a pilot based on Pamela Des Barres’ notorious memoir about being a rock groupie, I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie.
Mr. Sunshine (ABC): The West Wing’s Allison Janney portrays the boss of Matthew Perry as the manager of a San Diego stadium who realizes that, by turning 40, he can no longer rely solely on charm to get by in life.
Shameless (Showtime): In addition to her duties in the above project, Allison Janney could also find herself starring in this U.S. adaptation of the long-running UK series, about an 18-year-old working class girl who tries to hold her family together despite loser-parents. It stars William H. Macy and Justin Chatwin (who played Tom Cruise’s son in The War of the Worlds) and features a very gay son.
Untitled Dana Gould project (ABC): Gould, a writer for The Simpsons, Parks & Recreation, and The Bill Maher Show, has landed a deal for this show about a high school guidance counselor torn between his conservative father and his own very progressive wife.
Next Page! Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker both on television (but not together)?